The idea of prison inmates getting a second chance is a very confronting issue, with some people not sure they deserve it. However, experts say breaking the cycle of re-offending is vital.
In 2019, in an Australian first, Green Fox Studio set up a not-for-profit creative training studio in a high-security Queensland prison, to help inmates navigate the pathway to employment, by gaining skills and experience in graphic design, 3D animation, desktop publishing and more, completing work for real world clients.
Their motto is to make time count.
In the last two years, they’ve trained 164 inmates, many of whom have gone on to find employment upon release. The recidivism (re-offending rate) is particularly telling. Of the inmates who have been released, only 3% have thus far ended up back in prison, compared to approximately 47% within the average prison population.
“It goes to show that helping someone find their passion through training and support can change their lives for the better,” said Amanda Shepherd, co-founder of Green Fox Studio.
“What people might not realise is that most incarcerated people have themselves experienced trauma or violence at a young age, and without support to address this and its effects earlier in their lives, there can be a harmful trajectory from trauma to incarceration.”
It costs over $100,000 a year to keep a prisoner incarcerated, and it costs an additional $50,000 in indirect social costs per inmate, each year. If you were to keep 24 offenders from returning to prison, that’s a saving of almost $4 million to the government and the community. Of course, the saving in human capital is immeasurable.
“With the support of the community, we are helping to train, mentor and empower inmates in their self-improvement journey. When they’re released from prison, they have hope for their futures and go on to contribute to their community, which we are immensely proud of,” Ms Shepherd said.
The social enterprise trains and employs around 30 inmates within its inside studio at any given time. The full-service creative design agency on the outside, is based in Brisbane. Of the six staff on their external team, two are former inmates, who have been given a second chance. Both men developed their skills at Green Fox Training Studio, while doing time.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Sara Parrott said the organisation was so inspired by these life-changing outcomes and alignment to Hand Heart Pocket’s renewed purpose, to partner for change for people in need, that they decided to engage Green Fox Studio to design their 2020-21 Annual Review.
To find out more about Green Fox Studio, visit the website at www.greenfoxstudio.com.au